Someone asked me the other day what mindfulness was. I thought it was a silly question to ask but then I realized how I practice mindfulness is not necessarily how my neighbor, yoga instructor, or my Republican friends may practice mindfulness.
Everyone does mindfulness whether they admit or recognize it or not, and everyone does it differently. Some may do it in a way that says not my problem, nothing I can do and puts their air in defeat. Others do it through attending marches, picking up trash every chance they get and talking about the issues that matter to them to everyone they meet. Some see small everyday choices as pivotal opportunities to grow, change, and make an impact.
I believe every choice we make has consequences, for every yes I say I’m intentionally saying no to something else. When I’m being mindful and aware of my yeses to scrolling my phone earlier in the day and saying no to meditation, the consequence is usually more stress earlier in the day and lots of comparison. Some yeses have bigger impacts, like yes to the pre-made dark chocolate mint star cookies at Trader Joe’s. I’m saying yes to lots of added sugar and no to a healthier snack choice. I also recognize that Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Star cookies are only here for a little while, so it’s okay to say yes on occasion.
When I say yes to making coffee at home instead of at the coffee shop, I’m saving money, in control of what coffee I use, how it’s made, and how warm and fothy my milk is. I’m also saying no to unnecessary waste (yes you can bring your own cup and reduce waste as well but raise your hand if you’re ACTUALLY good at it) and saying no to wasting 4-6 dollars.
Let’s circle back to the meditation one. When you ask people about mindfulness many think of meditation, yoga, and Buddists. Mostly I think about paying attention to how my body feels, and needs at a basic level. I’ve found that when I take as little as 10 minutes to meditate in the morning, I’m more relaxed throughout the day. Finding that 10 minutes is the hardest. When I’m more aware of what my body needs, nutritionally, physically, mentally, and emotionally I’m a better me for my husband, my co-workers, and my friends. I’m more likely to put my phone down and worry less about instagram and more likely to call and talk to someone.
I also practice mindfulness in recognizing each purchase I make has an impact, I can buy from a large brand that spends little on making products to make and ship around the US or I can buy from a small company that produces small batches and can benefit the local economy. I can also choose to buy less pre-made food so that I can say yes to more nutritionally dense food, and at the same time, less plastic.
Being mindful for me is three-fold; understanding the impact something will have on me, my community, and this planet.
Earlier I said we all practice mindfulness, and I mean it but some practice it more selfishly disregarding the impact on planet and sometimes community. We do ourselves a disservice when we mindlessly consume, disregard our community, and wreak havoc on our planet.
Tell me where do you practice mindfulness? Is it through meditation, at the grocery store, or by serving you community in a tangible way?